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DePaul University - MFA in Comedy Screenwriting

Film School details

Degrees Offered
  1. 2 Year M.F.A.
  1. Screenwriting
Yearly Tuition
$20k to $30k
Application Deadlines
December 15 (Priority Deadline)
March 1 (Final Deadline)
In collaboration with The Second City, DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts is now offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in Comedy Filmmaking.

The Master’s Concentration in Comedy, housed within DePaul’s celebrated MFA Screenwriting program, is the only terminal degree of its kind in the world, while the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Comedy Filmmaking will be the most comprehensive undergraduate degree in Comedy Filmmaking in the country. Students take classes at both The Second City and DePaul University.

These innovative programs will enable students to develop their own comedy voice and original material through a methodology honed over decades by The Second City. Upon completion of either degree, students will have in hand a rich portfolio of original scripts and films to help best prepare them for a career in the industry following graduation.

Students will attend classes at The Second City, as well as within DePaul’s expansive studio and classroom facilities at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, where network dramas “Empire,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Med” regularly shoot. Classes offered to DePaul students will include:
  • DNA of The Second City
  • Evolution of Comedy
  • Comedy Improvisation for Filmmakers
  • The Comedy Director at Work
"Second City has been nurturing comedic talent in Chicago for nearly 60 years. Two years ago, in starting the Harold Ramis Film School, we successfully expanded our approach to attracting and developing nascent screenwriters and directors. By partnering with DePaul, we will now have the opportunity to teach an even broader range of students comedy in an accredited environment," said Second City CEO Andrew Alexander.
“Together, DePaul and Second City will merge the crafts of comedy storytelling and filmmaking into the most comprehensive program of its kind. The curriculum will give students the opportunity to create, develop and showcase their comedic writing and directing from the script to the screen,” said Gary Novak, director of DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts.

DePaul’s 35,000-square-foot facilities at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on the city’s west side include three professional soundstages, green screen cycloramas, a 3-ton grip truck and high-end editing suites and mixing studios.
“Usually, Chicago is used as a backdrop in film, and the ideas and money come from elsewhere. What’s changing now is that we have the opportunity to develop the ideas and scripts here, and we have the means to oversee post-production and distribute the final product. It’s very empowering for our city to be able to offer that,” said filmmaker Dan Klein, an assistant professor in the School of Cinematic Arts.

The Second City's Harold Ramis Film School was named in honor of the late Second City and “SCTV” alumnus Harold Ramis, creator of iconic comedies ranging from “Ghostbusters” to “Groundhog Day.” The world’s only film school dedicated entirely to comedy, the institution’s faculty, master class guest lecturers and advisory board include some of the film industry’s top names.
“I’m happy to know that the partnership with DePaul will allow even more emerging comedic minds to learn and build under the legacy of Harold Ramis and The Second City. There’s a special skill to being a collaborative and innovative filmmaker with an eye for comedy. Harold did this exceptionally well, and I feel confident that with our colleagues at DePaul we will continue to help foster the next generation of talent," said Trevor Albert, Harold Ramis Film School chair.

To learn more about the new degrees in comedy filmmaking, visit https://cdm.depaul.edu/comedy.
Media Contacts:
DePaul University
Kristin Claes Mathews
The Second City
Marilyn Cox
School URL
GRE Required?
Portfolio Required?
Letters of Reference Req.
Internship Opportunities
Application Requirements
1) Statement of Creative Purpose (2 pages),
2) Outline for a 4-minute Film (2 pages),
3) Screenplay (3 pages),
4) Concept for Feature-length Movie (2 pages), and
5) Brief Narrative Video

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was last updated. PLEASE verify with the school ALL due dates and requirements as they may have changed since our last update. If any info on this page is incorrect please let us know and we will update it. We are not responsible for missed deadlines or rejected applications due to out of date information on this page. Please do your due diligence.

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